I'm looking for an explanation of the terms.

Dovetail I can pretend to understand, as it is what it is. But Kerf? Dado? Rabbet? Tenon and Mortise? There are of course many more but these are my current concern.

I know what a kerf is, but the name does not match common parlance and to my mind begs an explanation?

closed as too broad by Matt, Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2, rob Jun 11 '15 at 2:37

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 2
    Do you intend for someone to post the origin of every term in the linked page? If not, are you just asking about the ones you listed? Or are you wondering if there's some more general singular explanation for how all the terms came to be woodworking terms? – rob Jun 10 '15 at 21:41
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    What will really blow your mind is how different they are in the U.S. vs. the U.K. – Charlie Kilian Jun 10 '15 at 21:47
  • There are books devoted to subjects like this. I think you need to narrow this down. – Matt Jun 10 '15 at 22:12
  • I like the words twybil and adze. Definitely Old English sounding. – saltface Jun 10 '15 at 22:31
  • A good unabridged dictionary is a better source for answers about word origins than Stack Exchange. – keshlam Jun 10 '15 at 22:36

Kerf From Old English cyrf, cutting, a cut

Dado I can't find an answer for this one. But this is an interesting read: http://www.woodworkinghistory.com/glossary_dado.htm

Rabbet From Old French rabat, a recess or reduction

Tenon From Old French tenir, to hold

Mortise From Old French mortaise, same meaning; possibly from Arabic murtazz, fastened

Mitre From Old French mitre, possibly in reference to the shape of an ecclesiastical mitre

Now go forth and read The Debate of the Carpenter's Tools.

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